"Most birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin," Stern says. "Yaz and Yasmin contain a different type of progestin, called drosperinone, which is a fourth-generation progestin. Yaz and Yasmin, because of the fourth-generation progestin, put women at higher risk of heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, gall bladder disease and death than other birth control pills. That is the core of the [Yaz and Yasmin] lawsuits.
According to Stern, lawsuits allege that Bayer, maker of Yaz and Yasmin, did not adequately research the birth control pills and did not adequately warn women about the risks associated with the pills. There are approximately 3,700 cases filed in the multi-district litigation (MDL) concerning Yasmin and Yaz, with the first trial set to begin in September 2011. Meanwhile, there are approximately 700 cases filed in a state mass tort program in New Jersey. With both sets of litigation, more cases are constantly being added to the caseload.
"The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen includes Yasmin on its list of 'Do Not Use' drugs because of drosperinone," Stern says. "The theory is that drosperinone increases the risks and there is no evidence that Yasmin is better than older contraceptives. If it could be risky and isn't more effective, why should people take it? There are people suggesting the drugs [Yasmin and Yaz] should be recalled because there are no benefits over other birth control pills."
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Furthermore, parents or next of kin of women who died after using Yaz or Yasmin should also contact an attorney.
Women who use or have used Yasmin or Yaz and suffer any unusual symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.
"These problems are life-changing," Stern says. "Especially the deep vein thrombosis and strokes. Even the gall bladder disease is life-changing. Women need to be aware of what they are taking—know it and understand the risks compared to other birth control pills."